Grow through what you go through

The past few years have been extremely challenging for everyone therefore it is vital to look after our own mental wellbeing and find ways to support ourselves and those around us. Supporting and nurturing mental wellness builds resilience, promoting positive mental health and inner well-being. 


Due to the natural stresses and strifes of life, I believe that one of the best protective factors we can maintain is that of a growth mindset. A growth mindset is the ability to look objectively at whatever comes our way. Life can be tough; this we know painfully well. We cannot choose what happens to us, however, we can choose how we handle it. We have the choice to allow our suffering to consume us or allow our suffering to teach us.

When something unpleasant happens, we can either let it defeat us or we can use it to fuel our growth. The choice is ours. Therefore, we can choose to grow through what we go through. 

What is growth? 

No, I’m not talking about what you can grow in the garden or greenhouse, I am talking about the ability to learn and improve, to develop personally.

In life, we are always growing, evolving, and changing. When we talk about growth from a mental health perspective we are talking about the process of positive development, personal growth.

Personal growth is a process of self-exploration and skill-building that can improve our overall quality of life and well-being. Personal growth is improving self-awareness, self-understanding, nurturing relationships and sharpening social skills and the ability to overcome challenges or situations that we find tough.

An important part of growing together is not just thinking about yourself but how we can help each other grow too. The most difficult growth is emotional growth, usually emotional growth is sowed from challenges and obstacles we face in life, these setbacks are what helps us become who we are.

Growth comes through change, with change there is often uncertainty, and uncertainty can breed anxiety, with the collective uncertainty of the past few years, a level of anxiety will be natural, therefore, now more than ever, it is essential to pay attention to our mental health and wellbeing.

Through life's challenges, we often need the support or perspective of others to help us through, especially when things are tough. In developing a growth mindset, we can support ourselves by thinking outside the box when looking at our problems. A growth mindset will help them to move closer to being able to do what they have set out to do.

What is a growth mindset? 

A growth mindset is the ability to see a situation or problem from all perspectives, to see the learning in each situation, having the capability to explore using the situation to our advantage somehow. Having a growth mindset means you are safe in the knowledge no matter the outcome everything will be OK, and you might bounce back quickly from setbacks. It also makes you more likely to explore how you can get better at doing something.

You believe that you can improve your abilities by practising, or by finding a different way to achieve your goal.

How can I develop a growth mindset? 

Recognise how the brain works

Research shows that learning creates new connections in the brain. Understanding how the brain works and forms new connections when they develop new skills or learn something new can be exciting for them motivating them to learn a new skill or try something different.

Understand the concept of mindsets

Both a negative and positive mindset each comes with problems. A positive mindset is unrealistic and unachievable therefore setting us up for failure, wherein a negative mindset will rarely produce a positive outcome, however, a growth mindset ensures that regardless of if the situation is positive or negative, we can learn from it and everything will be OK.

Explore feelings and push through

Implore resilience and do not give up when times are hard. We now know that the brain adapts to new information and through time a new connection will form. Consider past challenges you have faced in life, how you overcome these challenges, you can overcome this also, simply acknowledging your resilience can promote a growth mindset.

Feel the fear and do it anyway

We all experience fearful feelings on a regular basis, it is natural to feel fear when we are faced with new opportunities and experiences. 

When faced with uncertainty fear may be the first feeling to surface. It is outside of our comfort zone; it is natural to fear the unknown. The first step to doing this is to simply admit that we have fears. If we can do that, the next step is to let go of these fears.

The last step is to replace these fears with positive, constructive thoughts e.g.

  •  How would I feel if I conquered this fear?
  • What reward would be at the end of overcoming this fear? What would life look like?

Everything you ever wanted is on the other side of fear.

– Unknown 

Celebrate mistakes

It is natural to associate shame and fear around mistakes however if we change the outlook, we will diminish those negative emotions. We all make mistakes, so try to embrace these mistakes and use them as learning opportunities, rather than feeling embarrassed about them.

Remember If we are not making mistakes, then we are not stretching ourselves, if we are not stretching ourselves, we are not growing, if we are not growing, we are not developing.

Following these steps and planting these small seeds towards personal growth can have big results.

Explore how you have grown together over the past few years, acknowledge the achievements and challenges that have been overcome, and celebrate how even through difficult times with the right support we can all continue to grow and flourish.

Remember, from little seeds grow mighty trees. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Newtownabbey BT36 & BT37
Written by Ashleigh Duncan, Counsellor MBACP
Newtownabbey BT36 & BT37

Ashleigh Duncan Counsellor MBACP
Owner and founder of AD Counselling and Wellness, Newtownabbey.

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